Been married 15+ years, to the sweetest person ever. One reason I was attracted to her was because I knew there would never be a chance at infidelity. In 15 years nothing more than a few disagreements. I am rather passive and care free. In 2016 she changed jobs and over the course of the next few years, the drinking became heavy and daily, every few words were a f bomb and she started hanging out with divorced/single ladies who acted the same. This had me concerned but around family and previous friends she still acted sweet.
Fast forward to 2019 and she wasn’t being very nice to me. Once my son started walking and was no longer a baby (he is 7 now) my wife lost interest in him. It has mostly been me and him doing everything and her doing just enough for a Facebook selfie with him every few days. I have always done all the housework because she said it wasn’t fun but now she was fussing at me saying I only did it to make her feel bad. She would go shopping for 12 hours and not buy anything and I would mention something to her about it and I would get yelled at for trying to act like her mother.
I have always taken care of buying our child his clothes and she started fussing at me for buying stuff that was too expensive. She wanted sex all the time, but acted like I had cooties any other time and I was untouchable. Her work parties were not for families, but it seemed everyone took their family but her. If I asked why me and my son couldn’t go, I would get fussed at for not letting her have friends. Grocery shopping took her hours cause she said she was shopping for deals, but I still had to go get me and my son groceries to fix our supper. Every Friday became a girls night.
I would ask her if something was the matter and she would tell me I was having anxiety problems and needed to see a dr. She made me an appointment to see a psychiatrist and was prescribed medicine. I would ask later if there was a problem and she would say I needed my medicine changed because I was paranoid. By this time I did need medication, I felt like I was going crazy and was having horrible anxiety and panic attacks. Oh, and she suggested I get A LOT (a lot for me anyway) of money out of my retirement to pay our house off early.
Early 2020 I received an anonymous txt msg that said my wife was cheating with multiple people. I thought it was a joke and showed her. She said she would never cheat on anyone, but then said she had never loved me and was moving out and already had an apartment and turned into this evil person and just began saying all these horrible things about me. She went on a rant about how I was beneath her and as beautiful as she was, she deserved to be happy and could have any man she wanted. I said why have you never said anything? and I was screamed at and told if I were her soulmate I would know how miserable she had been for 15+ years. I said you acted happy…. she said it’s because she is a wonderful actress.
She leaves that night, only to come back the next day and say she wasn’t ready to leave yet. She would be in two weeks. So she locked herself up downstairs in a bedroom and stayed for two weeks then she left. We have rarely spoken since. Divorce is in process.
A week after she left, I got a phone call from a wife whose husband she had been having an affair with. Apparently he dumped her a few days before she moved out because he was mad she had lied to him that she had been divorced for two years. Not having social media, I did not realize that her 3x daily selfies were always without her wedding ring and all references to me had been deleted.
Oh, and the retirement money that was only in my name, I got it out and she took over half of it and has been living off of it. I feel like the biggest chump to ever live. Even after she admitted to hating me and being a great actress, I was taking up for her and saying no way would she ever cheat.
It’s been a year since this all started and I am doing better, but I’m still haunted by this and have nightmares almost nightly. She is on her 3rd soulmate in a year and is planning a wedding using my retirement money. Meanwhile the mere thought of trusting someone, much less dating anyone makes me sick. I have cut ties with most everyone I know. They all either knew about it or wanted to be friends with both of us. People who didn’t know, she has told some people she left because I had a drinking problem (I never drink), some people she told I was to focused on our son (which is true but someone had to be), and a few people she told it got so bad she just had to leave giving their imagination an opportunity to run wild.
A neighbor even said “You have to admit, it took a lot of balls to do what she did.” I said do what ? Lie, cheat, steal and then hide?
Will this ever end? I am going back to school to finish my masters degree and I got a great dog. We have joint custody, but she is often busy so it’s closer to 65/35 my favor. My son is miserable the time he is with her. I feel like I am in a nightmare that will never end and she has all the friends, the boyfriend and I’m just a bitter little man who can’t let it go.
Wow. Please slap your neighbor for me. If he stands there stunned just shrug and say, “You have to admit, it took balls to do what I just did.”
Actually, a slap is too kind. Go steal half his retirement account and leave him with permanent trust issues, then take his temperature on his admiration for ballsiness.
And this is why this blog exists. Every morning I put this shit out into the ether, foremost to support chumps (you’re not alone!), but also with the hope that some non-chump reads and thinks, “Oh… this isn’t at all the exuberant act of aliveness Esther Perel promised me. This is… wrong.”
Justin, you ticked so many chump boxes! Gaslighting to the point of medication! Financial abuse! Character assassination! ‘Co-parenting’ with a fuckwit! Switzerland friends! Where even to begin?
Okay, here. Your ex-wife is not, was not “sweet.” She was a fraud. You fell in love with a hologram. Clearly, you’re a hardworking, loving person who was of use. And you bonded with that thing. I don’t believe she changed jobs and became a different person. I think she changed jobs and her character revealed itself. Also, hold out for better than “nice” or “sweet.” The Walmart greeter is those things. A partner needs to be a partner. Someone who supports you, who does their share (of housework, childrearing, caregiving). Sweet is pleasant, but it’s not substance.
I know you’re flinchy now (who wouldn’t be?!), but this distinction is important going forward as you work out the trust issues. Only someone NOT bonded to you, someone who wades in the shallowest of waters, could do this to you, could do this to her CHILD. These so-called “friends” could not care about you and watch her cheat on you for years. They are NOT your friends. There is NO substance there. Friend material exists, but these people are NOT it.
Oh, and your neighbor is a jerk. Or just exceptionally dunderheaded. I’m reminded of the Bill Maher comment after 9/11 when he remarked that hey, it took a lot of bravery to drive those planes into the twin towers. Really? You’re going to say that to a grieving country?
Back to you, Justin. Some people suck. (Your ex-wife. She sucks epically.) Many others are just weak and don’t care that much to be invested in your drama. Some are rubberneckers. (Those “friends,” that neighbor.) And other people are mensches, good folks who are worth the investment. A basic litmus test is if anyone hearing this story is APPALLED (✅ right reaction).
It’s been a year since this all started and I am doing better, but I’m still haunted by this and have nightmares almost nightly.
(((Justin))). The pain is finite. You just went through an incredible trauma. I’m not saying you won’t have scars, or even the occasional nightmare, but you won’t always feel engulfed by these feelings. She will NOT be the central story in your life, she’ll be the challenge by which you measure yourself. A thing that was overcome, not a person (hologram) you miss. I know that’s hard to believe at this stage, but you’ll get there.
How do I know? Because you’re on the other side. You divorced her. And you’ve lived and persevered through the worst (medicating your anxiety at being gaslighted? Multiple D-days?). Now your path is sane parenting and new-life building. It’s MUCH, MUCH better because you’re at the wheel. Not a sociopathic motherfucker.
She is on her 3rd soulmate in a year and is planning a wedding using my retirement money.
Didn’t this woman have a JOB? How is it she got half of your retirement money? Look, you still sound young. Money can be replaced. Your wasted years cannot, so thank God she’s out fleecing Soul Mate III.
Meanwhile the mere thought of trusting someone, much less dating anyone makes me sick.
That’s normal. Take time to heal. You sound like a wonderful, caring person and I promise you, you are not a unicorn. There are others. It just takes some time bring stability and peace into your life. Why deny yourself the comfort and support of friends, or a future partner? I hope you have real life support from a REAL friend or two or family. You have this community (and apparently people Zoom and stuff over on Facebook and have meet-ups.) And I hope you have a therapist who understands abuse.
Look, it just takes time to move past the horror. Your whole life will not be horror and horrible people. Baby steps. Don’t expect a lot of yourself now on the big Will I Trust Again? question. You will. With discernment. And you’ll realize we don’t get guarantees, but we get boundaries. Believe in your resiliency. You have ample proof of it.
I am going back to school to finish my masters degree and I got a great dog.
Awesome! You’re mighty right out of the gate!
We have joint custody, but she is often busy so it’s closer to 65/35 my favor. My son is miserable the time he is with her.
DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Parenting software, everything you do for your son and the time you have him. When you hit a critical mass (consult your lawyer), you go back for custody.
I feel like I am in a nightmare that will never end and she has all the friends,
Your nightmare ended. She is OUT of your life, except as a fuckwit you do hostage drop-offs with for the next 11 years (failing a court remedy). That can be survived. Ask thousands of us how we know.
She doesn’t have all the friends — she has all the vapid nitwits who don’t judge her. Don’t mistake these people for friends. Demote. You have higher standards now. In wives and in friends.
I’m just a bitter little man who can’t let it go
Is that your narrative or hers?
You’re a mighty man who loves with his whole heart and is sane parenting a son who will look up to him, and admire how he handled adversity. You’re a man with an advanced degree and a great dog. You’re a stock that trades highly.
What’s her narrative?
Oh, I’m sorry I can’t hear it. It went out for a Girl’s Night and never came back.
Pay it no mind.
Stay strong, Justin.